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I am running Ubuntu 12.04 32 bit on my laptop (Toshiba Sattelite L-450), the spec is as follows

Memory: 2.8gb
Intel® Celeron(R) CPU 900 @ 2.20GHz
Graphics Mobile Intel® GM45 Express Chipset x86/MMX/SSE2

At present the laptop is running slower than i would like, (though I know this isnt down to Ubuntu OS)

There is a 64bit version of 12.04, would this give me any gains in performance?

As I am not really knowledgeable in this area i was wondering if someone could recommend my options to upgdade the RAM and maybe go to the 64bit version of Ubuntu. How much RAM can i add and is it worth upgrading to 64bit afterwards?

I hope that this question is suitable for this forum

Advice greatly appreciated

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64-bit runs acceptably on machines with less then 4GB of RAM. I used to run it on ONE GB, on an old machine of mine. While you may still want more RAM, I just want to clear that up. – hexafraction Jan 27 '13 at 12:09
ah right, seems like there was some confusion my end over that, thank you – Richlewis Jan 27 '13 at 12:13
would i see any performance gains in upgrading to 64 bit? – Richlewis Jan 27 '13 at 12:14
Yes, especially in programs that handle large amounts of data such as compter simulations, since they can process 64 bits at one time without weird extensions. – hexafraction Jan 27 '13 at 12:16
So development of applications in Ruby on rails for example will see gains – Richlewis Jan 27 '13 at 12:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

64-bit won't hurt.

64-bit runs acceptably on machines with less then 4GB of RAM. I used to run it on ONE GB, on an old machine of mine. While you may still want more RAM, switching to 64-bit won't hurt (except in extremely rare cases), and even will help if you don't have 4 GB of RAM. This is because files greater than 4 GB can still be mmap'ed, boosting disk access and disk seek times, especially when files are cache[citation needed]. Another important thing is that even when working with small datasets, processing is faster since in one operation, up to 64 bits can be processed quickly and efficiently, as opposed to 32. For example, a program that factors numbers can perform a larger division in one instruction, as opposed to 4 or so on 32-bit.

The same goes for database and scalable applications, as well as even data-intensive things such as Ruby on Rails.

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You can check out the details of your computer's memory through terminal by running

sudo dmidecode -t memory

One of the things this will show you is the maximum amount of RAM your computer supports. It also tells you which type you're using now, which is something to keep in mind. For more information on that, here's the Wikipedia page on DDR SDRAM. Important to know is that different types are "neither forward nor backward compatible with any earlier type of random access memory (RAM) due to different signaling voltages, timings, and other factors".

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